I had a deep concern for the possible approval for legislation to abolish all dental benefits for adult MaineCare recipients.

As a practicing dentist who works part-time in a community dental center, which today are the few remaining dental practices in this state that provide dental care to the economically deprived, and a physician, chief of staff at Maine General Medical Center, I am well aware the increased costs of seeing dental emergencies in the emergency room. The elimination of all dental benefits for adults was proposed by the governor’s supplemental budget for 2012- 2013.

I do understand, the need for this state to live within its means, but the elimination of emergency dental services will be penny smart, but dollar foolish.

A three-year study of aggregate Medicaid reimbursements for inpatient emergency department treatment was $6,498 versus preventative treatment of $660.

This revealed that on average, the cost to manage symptoms related to dental cares on inpatient basis is approximately 10 times more than to provide dental care for the same patients in the dental office. Although this was a pediatric population, there is agreement in both the medical and dental community, that you will probably see similar results in the adult population.

I hope the legislators and the appropriation committee realize that a total hatchet approach to eliminate all dental benefits to adult MaineCare recipients will lead to increase costs by increasing unnecessary of emergency room visits.

Peter Guzzetti


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